I’m a child of the 1980’s. When I was little I wanted to grow up and be just like Molly Ringwald: have her affinity for pink and dance the way she did in The Breakfast Club. I like to pretend I’m almost there; I just need the red hair and Jake Ryan, of course. If you missed that pop culture reference, then I weep for you. Thank god Summer Camp and I are on the same page.
Summer Camp is a London-based duo consisting of Elizabeth Sankey and Jeremy Warmsley, who sound as though they’ve been misplaced by twenty years. In fact, the 1980’s called and it’s mourning that it didn’t get to wrap its arms around this pair and squeeze ’em tight.
Their new EP, Young, makes you feel just like that… conjuring up memories of endless summer days of youth. Their sound is carefree new wave highlighted with subtle electronics, and completely saturated in pop. The first song, “Round the Moon,” summons visions of bad taffeta dresses and side ponytails, something out of a junior high school dance, or more ideally prom, as the duo sings: “And we dance all night/And we’ll hold each other close/’Til the morning light.” It’ll be all right, if you dance all night… in case you didn’t know.
Their influences are clearly from the 1980’s, not just because of those luscious synth-pop beats, but Young is a lyrical ode to movie character icons from that decade. Along with songs titled “Jake Ryan,” and “Veronica Sawyer,” Summer Camp even goes so far as to sample lines from 1989’s Say Anything, the movie that so kindly introduced the world to the great Lloyd Dobler. I never thought I’d live long enough to hear a song embedded with Corey Flood whispering: “Sorry, it’s just you’re a really nice guy and I don’t wanna see you get hurt;” to which Dobler famously responds: “I wanna get hurt!” Thank you, Summer Camp! Even if you subtract those two lines, “Ghost Train,” like the rest of Young, sounds like an excerpt from heaven with the poppy cooing of Sankey as the lead vocal.
But you don’t have to be a child of the 80’s to love Summer Camp… they have a gift of transporting their listeners to another time and place; a place dripping with nostalgia, a place faraway, a place you never quite get back once it’s gone. However, Young comes pretty damn close to retrieving that past and so sweetly infiltrates it into your ears.
By: Amanda Chatel
“Ghost Train” from Young: